Adire Cloth with Stylized Floral Design

Yoruba (Nigerian)
circa 1960s
Indigo dyed cotton with casava resist
Work : 6 ft. 9 in. x 5 ft. 5 in. (2.1 x 1.7 m)
Credit Line
Gift of Bruce Haight
Object Number

This large cloth would have been worn as part of a traditional Yoruba woman’s outfit, wrapped around her body like a long skirt or dress. The cloth is decorated with a stylized floral design that was created by painting the original white cloth with a paste made of cassava flour and copper sulphate. When the cloth was soaked in a vat of indigo dye, the paste acted as a resist and prevented the dye from completely coloring the painted areas. This type of paste-resist, indigo-dyed textile (adire eleko) first became popular among Yoruba women in the 1920s, and was then revived again in the 1960s as part of a broader Yoruba cultural identity movement. Some designs on these textiles have specific symbolic meanings. The design on this wrapper is associated with a Yoruba phrase that means “I’m getting myself together.”    

Object Type
Academic Themes
Female Artists